Christian conference calls for reconciliation

An interdisciplinary conference, to be held Jan. 21 and 22 at the King’s University College in Edmonton, Alta., will reiterate Canadian churches’ call for truth and reconciliation between Aboriginals and non-Aboriginals. The conference, titled “Truth and Reconciliation: Healing the Legacy of Residential Schools” will include smudging ceremonies, speakers, small-group discussions, and interactive exercises.

The public conference is co-sponsored by the college and the Remembering the Children Initiative, which organized a March 2008 tour of Aboriginal and church leaders to promote the work of Canada’s truth and reconciliation commission (TRC) on residential schools.

The Anglican Church of Canada, which ran about three dozen Indian residential schools between 1820 and 1969, participated inthe Remembering the Children tour. Archbishop Fred Hiltz (the Primate) and National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald spoke at the four city stops, alongside leaders from United, Presbyterian, and Roman Catholic churches and Aboriginal communities.

Part of this interdisciplinary conference is an event modelled on the Remembering the Children tour, to be held on Jan. 21 at the Canadian Native Friendship Centre (11205-101 Street) at 6:45 PM. Read the full press release here.

Although the TRC was officially launched in June 2008, its start has been delayed after the commission’s chair, Justice Harry LaForme, resigned in October. The Ven. Michael Pollesel, General Secretary of the Anglican Church of Canada, is involved in discussions with the federal government to start the commission’s work.

“Our intent in being involved is that the voice of survivors is paid attention to and heard,” said Mr. Pollesel. “There seems to be a lack of understanding around the table about what the TRC is about at this point.”

All events for the “Truth and Reconciliation: Healing the Legacy of Residential Schools” conference are open to the public at no charge. A detailed schedule is available online. For more information, contact Roy Berkenbosch, director of interdisciplinary studies and campus minister at the King’s University College: [email protected], (780) 465-3500 ext. 8070.

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